Please note this post is from my previous blog. To read my posts during the 2017 General Election campaign click here.
I’ve been away from the blog for a couple of weeks, and this post in part explains why! Today we are launching a new campaign on behalf of Coldharbour residents called Mend The Mound – with a petition to force the council to take long-overdue action to regenerate the local shops.
Over the last couple of months, Cllr John Hills, Cllr Mandy Brinkhurst and I have been conducting a survey across the Coldharbour. We’re extremely grateful to the hundreds of residents who returned the questionnaire – and have been busy pouring through the results to see what their top priorities are for the area.
The state of The Mound is one issue that comes up time and time again – not only through this latest survey, but also on the doorstep and at our ward surgeries at Coldharbour Library. It is widely accepted that the Labour administration running Greenwich Council (currently embroiled in its own internal difficulties, as the News Shopper reports this week) has a Woolwich focus and neglects the south of the borough. Nowhere is this more evident than when you look at the council’s neglect of The Mound.
There are too many empty premises and not enough being done by the council to support the regeneration of the area. We need The Mound to become a vibrant local shopping centre again – and that won’t happen unless the council gives more support.
In addition, we know from our work with the Safer Neighbourhoods Ward Panel that crime and anti-social behaviour often radiates out from The Mound to the rest of the ward. Tackling this problem there will make a real difference.
These two problems are inextricably linked. That’s why we have been working on our new Mend The Mound campaign and petition, calling on the council to end their neglect of the area take action on;
1) Empty shops
The council should use the new powers it has been granted by the Conservative-led government to lower business rates for new and existing shops/businesses, to attract new businesses to The Mound and fill empty premises
We want to see CCTV installed to help deter crime and anti-social behaviour, and crucially, for the council to work with the police to ensure these cameras are monitored locally, from their base on William Barefoot Drive – not from Woolwich.
Residents would feel safer at night if the council installed better lighting, including low-voltage lighting around the back of The Mound. This will reduce crime and the fear of crime, which is of course equally important.
This is of course on top of our support for traders in New Eltham, Mottingham, the Coldharbour (and across the borough) who are being hit by the council’s punitive new Pavement Tax – a subject on which I have blogged before. As an opposition we are aiming to force the council into a u-turn on this at next weeks’ council meeting.
We will be collecting signatures for the Mend The Mound petition at the shops and on the doorstep, and residents can also sign online here. You can support the campaign on Twitter by tweeting us @CHNEwardTeam using the hashtag #MendTheMound.
I hope that after seeing how strongly residents feel about this issue, our 3-point plan for The Mound will receive the council’s support and something will finally be done. Watch this space.